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Japanese Game Round-up: Profit from Fashion, Build a Numerical Pyramid, and Avoid Running Over People

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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• Tokyo Game Market took place on May 24-25, 2019, and while I wasn't at that show (as I attended our own BGG.Spring event instead), I've been following game haul pics on Twitter to spot which games have been appearing frequently, with one of those titles being Trend Color by designer ピサミン (Psamin) and publisher Garakuta-Box. I made a mock-up listing for the game to have something about it in the BGG database — then the publisher sent me the English rules, and I'm glad they did as it sounds like a wonderful take on a stock market game. My summary of the rules:

Manipulate fashion trends in Trend Color to come out on top!

In the game, you secretly start with two colors (out of eight), and you want those colors to up trending or (alternatively) rare and hard to find so that you can score the most points with them. At the start of the game, you'll set up a trend board with 1-8 different color tokens, with spaces for those colors being paired in lines. If you end up with five tokens on the board, for example, two of those colors will be paired, while the other three will be next to blank spaces; those three colors might be paired with something over the five rounds of the game.

At the start of a round, you fill up the shop card display so that it contains five cards; each card has room for 2-5 color tokens. On a turn, you draw a color token from the bag, then place it on one of the available shop cards. If you fill the final space, you claim the card, place 1-3 of these tokens on the trend board (placing an unrepresented color in a new row and matching other tokens that already have their color present), keeping the remaining tokens as your earnings, then exiting the round. If you're the first player out in a round, you score bonus points.

If you place the fifth token of a color on the trend board, you decide whether to remove all tokens of that color or keep them where they are. If you remove them, a player can add that color to the trend board again in the future, possibly in a different row.

Once all players have a shop card, the round ends, then you refill the shop card area (leaving the lone card there in place with any tokens on it) and begin a new round. After the fifth round, the game ends and players score points: Tokens of the two colors that appear in the longest line on the trend board are worth 3 points each; tokens of the two colors in the second-longest line are worth 2 points each, in the third-longest line 1 point each, and in the shortest line 0 points each. If a color isn't present on the trend board, those tokens are worth 2 points each. Tokens of the same color as your two secret color cards are worth twice as many points as they would be otherwise. Add points for your token earnings to any bonus points you received. Whoever has the highest score has dominated the trends and wins!

Back cover included to show how the trend board works

• I think that Yoshihisa Itsubaki's Donguri Yama (どんぐりやま) from Saikikaku debuted at the Osaka Game Market in March 2019, but it might have only been demoed there. Hard to tell when viewing these events from afar in a language you don't speak, but in any case here's the gist of the game:

In Donguri Yama (which means "Acorn Mountain" in English), players attempt to build an eight-level pyramid of cards.

Cards show numbers from 0 to 5, with the numbers showing in the upper left- and right-hand corners as well as in the middle of the bottom edge. The bottom row of the pyramid is eight cards wide, and players can place a card in the second row on top of two other cards as long as the sum or difference of the two supporting cards equals the card being placed. On top of an adjacent 1 and 3, for example, you can place either a 2 or a 4.

Since the deck contains cards from 0-5, an adjacent 4 and 5 can have only a 1 placed on top of them. Players need to keep these restrictions in mind as they work their way to the top of the pyramid. Can you reach the summit?

• Speaking of Itsubaki, at TGM in May 2019 Japanese retailer/publisher DEAR SPIELE released a new version of his game Streams, a.k.a. 20 Express, a.k.a. many other titles as Party KINGO!, with this version adding a new "training" level that lets you compete against others in a new way while retaining the same gameplay.

In the game, each player has their own scoring sheet. Someone draws a tile from a bag, and you write the number on the tile in an empty space on your sheet. This process repeats until every space has a number in it, then you score points based on how many numbers you have in an ascending sequence, with each sequence scoring separately; in general, the longer the sequence, the more points you score.

• Look at all the likes and retweets on this post!

So much love! So little info about what プリウスレーシング is and how it works! My best guess at a title Prius Racing, with this Loserdogs title possibly having this description: "In this racing game, try to run over as little as possible. Be careful not to mistake the accelerator and brake!"

This is a ¥500 game, so the components are basic, which seems to be common for this publisher:

The super frustrating thing about researching games like this is discovering it in a game haul pic that includes five other games about which you know nothing!

And then you see this and die:

My work will never end...
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